Ahhh... I love that break when I've finished up a WIP and can let my mind wander here and wander there without really thinking about anything having to do with said WIP. I know I don't have to look at it for a few weeks... it's almost like a mini-vacation, except I don't really go anywhere, I can't sleep any later, and I don't have a bunch of pictures to bore the hell out of innocent bystanders with.
What I do have though, it the opportunity to let my mind wander and, in doing so, allow new ideas to blossom through.
It's something I've been asked many times - Where do you get your ideas? And the truth is, I don't really know. Sometimes I play the what if? game. You know, what if a princess didn't know she was a princess, or didn't even want to be a princess, until she meets the hero and yadda...yadda...yadda... It's a fun game, but sometimes the ideas can get a little... out there.
Or I read a story in a magazine or newspaper and think, Hmmmm...?
And sometimes I just write a story I would like to read.
I mean, sure, they all become stories I'd like to read because if they aren't, I'm just wasting my time. I've started stories I think I would like to read, but the truth comes out about halfway into it when I dread having to write the next chapter or page or even the next freakin' word. When I decide to clean my office out so I don't have to write that next word, I know the story ain't goin' no further.
But the last two weeks, I've been letting my mind wander as I'm trying to get to sleep, or I'm the passenger on a long car ride, or whatever, and I've been coming up with some ideas that are different... and I think I might be able to work them into stories some time in the near future. For now, they remain notes jotted on a notepad here, or a sticky there (I have to be careful with the stickies - my daughter loves them and they tend to disappear, never to be seen again. My house is the Bermuda Triangle when it comes to sticky pads.)
I like to try different time periods, and I'm determined to write a time-travel romance some day. I think Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux is one of the best books ever written. I read it back in high school (oh no, I'm dating myself now) and I remember staying up all night because I had to know how it ended. Someday I'd like to write something with that sort of power. I think the challenge is something that will keep me from getting stale and writing the same stories over and over, with only personnel changes.
When I first finish up a book, I have a few days' panic thinking I'll never come up with an idea for another book. I'm done. After all, Harper Lee only ever wrote one book, so did Margaret Mitchell (ok, she died, but that's beside the point). What if I never have another idea? It's almost terrifying.
But after a week or so, when the ideas begin flowing, I can take a deep breath and relax. Nope. Not dried out just yet. There is hope after all.
Now, I don't know when, exactly, I'll begin my next book. But I do know that I've got the setting, and a nugget of an idea. I'll let that simmer over the next week or so, and then, I'll sit down and begin the preliminary rough-synopsis. I don't do an elaborate synopsis - just the basics - as I do much better letting the story just flow. But it all begins with that idea.
The one I thought I'd never have.